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Concerning the scientific explanation for this wonder of nature, biologist James Morin (2007) states that these glowing shorelines are a result of bioluminescence which is found in many marine organisms.  Seen in all of the world’s oceans, these microorganisms known as phytoplankton emit a blue light as they form in dense layers on the water’s surface (Widder, 2016).  Their source of light is fuelled by the production and synthesis of luciferin which partakes in a chemical reaction along with dinoflagellate luciferase (Widder, 2016).  This reaction is activated when the organism is disturbed such as when waves work as the aggressor or when the organism feels threatened.  According to researchers at UCSan Diego (2015), the latter deems these phytoplankton dinoflagellates as “burglar alarms” which trigger as a result of predators or imparted mechanical stressors.  In support of this, research conducted by Valiadi and Iglesias-Rodriguez (2013) show that dinoflagellates host an evolutionary advantage as their bioluminescence operates as a method of defence.  What I found particularly fascinating about this organism is that not only do their flashes become stimulated when in contact with a grazer but the flash itself attracts higher-level predators who will then consume the grazer (Valiadi & Iglesias-Rodriguez, 2013).   Studies conducted by Esaias and Curl (1972) attest to this miraculous finding as the “higher the bioluminescence intensity of the dinoflagellate, the fewer the cells consumed by the copepod genera Acartia and Calanus” (p. 903).  This action ultimately reduces the predatory pressure on the organism which I found to be quite impressive.  Although, research in this area is growing, it is important to note that the knowledge surrounding bioluminescence and evolution are still infantile (Widder, 2016).  As a result, this investigation has sparked my curiosity even more and I am hoping that new studies will continue to shed light on this wonder of nature.  

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